Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin has constituted a sub-committee to expedite the import of 600,000 tonnes of sugar and directed the ministry of food security to complete the procurement of wheat at the earliest.
Presiding over a meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee, the minister directed the authorities concerned to complete the procurement of wheat and sugar in phases, keeping in view the prevailing international prices.
Mr Tarin called for looking into financial hedging of risks with reference to import of key commodities.
An official announcement said the sub-committee comprising the secretary ministry of food security, secretary industries and production, chairmen of the FBR and Trading Corporation of Pakistan and a representative of the ministry of commerce to expedite import of sugar to ensure its smooth supply across the country.
The finance minister directed Ministry of Food Security Secretary Ghufran Memon to work out modalities for establishing commodity warehouses, storage facilities and agri-malls on the basis of public-private partnership and present a proposal before the committee.
Special Assistant on Food Security Jamshed Cheema stated that a proposal in this regard has been finalised and would be presented shortly for approval.
Mr Tarin stressed the importance of meaningful interventions in the market by building strategic reserves of wheat, sugar, edible oil/ghee, vegetables and pulses to prevent hoarding and profiteering.
He said the government would flood the markets with necessary commodities to bridge the supply and demand gap where needed to check price hike. Pakistan is the net importer of key food items such as wheat, sugar and pulses, he said.
The current upsurge in international food prices amid the coronavirus pandemic makes it imperative to build strategic reserves of essential commodities to bring stability in their prices.
Secretary Ghufran Memon updated the committee about availability of sufficient stocks of wheat in the country. He also briefed the committee about the efforts under way regarding procurement of wheat.
TCP Chairman Riaz Ahmed Memon apprised the committee about the tenders floated in the international market for wheat and sugar.
Chairperson of the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) Rahat Kaunain Hassan apprised the committee about the stern actions being taken to end cartelisation in the edible oil and ghee sector to ensure fair competition throughout the country.